Oil and gas companies must explore far more than terrain and seismic reflection to remain nimble in an era of unstable prices and consumer pressure for decarbonization.
While dealing with uncertainly caused by COVID-19 and ongoing calls from citizens, policymakers and businesses for lower-carbon futures, forward-looking oil and gas companies are capitalizing on technology to streamline operations — both in the field and in the business.
Upon this landscape, one of Structured’s long-time energy sector clients found itself considering a transformational upgrade to its legacy email and data protection practices.
With nearly 1000 employees spread across sites that are hundreds of miles apart, this client needed a productivity boost that only the cloud could deliver. They turned to Microsoft 365 for its user-, device- and location-friendly ability to facilitate teamwork and communication.
While the move to M365 was sound business strategy, the IT team quickly realized the platform’s biggest security limitation: While Microsoft guarantees uptime and availability for M365, it does not assume responsibility for backing up client data or protecting user accounts.
The software behemoth provides only limited retention and recovery capabilities, and that risk was unacceptable. This energy firm could not tolerate irretrievable emails, files and user accounts due to accident or malice; ransomware and zero day threats; unsanctioned data exfiltration; and more. A better data protection solution was in order so Structured was invited to step in and help.
Exploring the Requirements
First, the Structured team drilled deep into the issue with the client to make sure all technical requirements would be met — or exceeded — and that all risks were mitigated. As a highly regulated entity responsible for protecting some of the nation’s critical infrastructure, this energy sector client was understandably focused on security and compliance.
The company wanted a solution with an easy-to-navigate web interface, but one that also offered granular search and restore options.
And, just like all companies, they were searching for ways to reduce administrative overhead for their overtasked IT department and eliminate strain on their hardware. Keeping M365 data in the cloud so that it wouldn’t be a management burden to IT personnel or clog on-premises network and data center resources was key.
Finally, it had to be affordable. Early on, this customer had considered and ruled out building its own backup instance in either AWS or Azure. Upon examination, the learning curve, security protocols and management requirements of this approach made the total cost of ownership prohibitive.
Finding an elephant
In oil industry jargon, an “elephant” is an oil field that contains more than 100 million recoverable barrels. In other words, an elephant is a really good thing.
After considering various options, Structured presented the client with the elephant equivalent in M365 protection: iland’s Secure Cloud Backup for Microsoft 365.
To make sure this solution would guarantee the best results, iland was invited to demonstrate its platform. Walking through the air-gapped functionality of backups — with the company’s heavy focus on compliance — the iland team carefully addressed all security concerns.
Next up was ease of use. With iland’s web-based interface, simple restore functionality, and comprehensive infrastructure management, the customer realized they would be off and running in no time – a huge value add.
But one last hurdle remained: Was iland affordable?
Yes. As it turned out, several other competitors came in at almost $1000 per month more for their backup offerings.
A ‘Self-explanatory’ start
Implementing iland’s secure backup solution for M365 was relatively simple. The process began with a kickoff meeting to discuss initial configuration, review procedures, and define expectations.
Structured and iland explained that the longest part of the deployment would come from seeding the backup instance in iland since Microsoft throttles this process in M365. iland also optimizes the way these implementations occur to shorten the seeding time as much as possible.
Once the client’s backup instance was fully set up in iland’s cloud, the hand off and training were relatively painless as the iland interface is, in the customer’s words, “self-explanatory.”
While most oil and gas companies are traditional in many senses — existing for decades, generations, or even more than a century — digital disruption and competition have driven them to embrace cloud-based backup and its attendant benefits of efficient and secure data management and IT.
When it comes to protecting the energy sector’s business critical M365 data, communication, and users with simplicity, speed and affordability, Structured and iland are proven reserves.